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Statement in Response to Release of 2020 Greater LA Homeless Count Results

The 2020 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, released Friday, June 12, shows a significant increase in people experiencing homelessness throughout the City and County of Los Angeles. The count also revealed that in LA County, Black adults are 4X more likely to experience homelessness. A key driver to this grim statistic is the fact that Black Angelenos disproportionately face barriers to employment that impede their efforts to achieve economic and housing security, which have only been compounded by the pandemic.

The COVID-19 crisis in the California labor market continues to have a disproportionate impact on women, younger workers, those with less education, as well as workers who are Asian and Black, as detailed in a recent report by Employment Development Department and the nonprofit California Policy Lab. The overall unemployment rate in LA County is 20.3%, while the rate in communities with large Black populations is significantly higher.

A truly effective strategy to address these disparities must include both affordable housing development and economic / employment development elements. The Los Angeles Regional Initiative for Social Enterprise (LA:RISE) is an innovative partnership helping address unjust economic inequities.

LA:RISE connects numerous employment social enterprises like Goodwill, Chrysalis, and Homeboy Industries, to the workforce system, along with supportive services and regional employers, allowing all the partners to bring their expertise and resources to the table, and their collective dedication to improving the lives of all Angelenos. The striving people who work in social enterprises through LA:RISE affirm the possibilities for contribution, accomplishment, and achievement that come with equitable treatment and respect.

With unemployment at record levels, the competition for jobs will be fierce. People whose lives have been impacted by the criminal justice system, homelessness, and other systematic barriers will need the support provided by employment social enterprises in order to continue on a path toward a more economically secure future. Now is the time for Los Angeles to invest in more workforce development and employment programs. With the continued support of the City and County of Los Angeles, programs designed to help people with high employment barriers succeed in the workforce, like LA:RISE, can continue to serve vulnerable populations and build on the success already achieved.

REDF and all of its LA:RISE partners are committed to finding solutions to confront systematic economic injustices through income equality, a livable wage, and jobs.

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